This website shows: That’s how much MPs earn on the side

Do you want to know how much extra income your member of the Bundestag has? Actually, you should be able to look it up on a website of the Bundestag. But MPs often violate the transparency regulations. Without this having any consequences!

Update 02/28/2022:

In theory, anyone who is interested should be able to look up what the MPs earn on the side on this website ( more on this below ). But MPswatch is now reporting how often MPs violate transparency rules. Without this having any consequences!

Bundestag Watch writes: “The Bundestag had only officially confirmed ten cases since the transparency regulations came into force in 2005. They were classified as serious and made public by the President of the Bundestag. But now it has become apparent that in hundreds of cases Members of Parliament did not disclose their sideline activities or income correctly” ( you can find the exact figures here ).

It is not known who the MPs who violated disclosure requirements are. The Bundestag administration justifies this with data protection. As a rule, it remains an internal warning, but those affected do not feel any really noticeable consequences. But that could tempt members of parliament not to take the transparency requirements so seriously. MPs Watch says: “It is more likely that MPs have gotten used to the fact that a breach of duty has no noticeable consequences. And further: “The CSU MP Max Straubinger drove it particularly wildly… Straubinger earned more than 700,000 euros with these part-time jobs, but he left the public in the dark for several months or years about many incoming payments.”

In the meantime, the rules of conduct have been tightened, states MPswatch. Another new feature is that the President of the Bundestag will have to present a transparency report at the beginning of a legislative period.

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A report by Bundestag Watch made the rounds as early as 2020: Around one in three members of the Bundestag earned something extra in addition to their mandate income. Such additional income is available to representatives of all parties, including representatives of the “Left” and “Greens”, but it is particularly common among MPs from the FDP, CSU and CDU and AFD. At the time, MPs Watch wrote: “Accordingly, 215 of the 709 MPs (30.3 percent) stated that they had been paid for at least one side job in addition to their MP mandate.” And further: “In addition to their monthly diet of 10,083 euros, the parliamentarians have also earned at least 25.1 million euros and reported them to Parliament President Wolfgang Schäuble since the 2017 federal election.”

However, voters cannot see the exact amount of an elected official’s additional income because MPs do not have to state their additional income in specific amounts, but only in ten different levels, each of which has a minimum and an upper limit. For example, level 1 ranges from more than 1000 euros to 3500 euros, level 10 covers everything over 250,000 euros without naming an upper limit. In addition, these levels only take into account the income and not the expenses of the MPs. So you can’t tell from the steps how much profit actually remains with a member of parliament after deducting all operating expenses.

However, the names of the companies and committees for which a legally independent member of parliament works on the side are much more informative for voters and more important for forming opinions. And you can see these names, along with the tiers of perks, in most cases (though there are exceptions where MPs are allowed to hide their clients):

Here you can see the additional income of all members of the Bundestag

The German Bundestag publishes the additional income of the members of the Bundestag on the Internet on a freely accessible website. You can find out more about every Member of Parliament here on the website of the German Bundestag. Enter the name of the MP you are looking for under “Search” in the top right-hand corner of the page. You will then find a short profile for each member of the Bundestag with the career, the memberships and the “information subject to publication”.

Additional income divided into ten levels

Members of the Bundestag have to state their additional income in ten stages (until 2013, the deputies only had to state their additional income in three stages, which was much less transparent). With the 10 levels that have been in force since 2014, you can estimate more precisely how much a member of the Bundestag earns on the side. However, as mentioned above, you will look in vain for exact details in euros and cents, as the MPs have successfully defended themselves against too much transparency.

The Bundestag explains the presentation of the additional income as follows: “The income must be reported for each individual secondary activity if it amounts to more than 1,000 euros per month or 10,000 euros per year. The information is published in the form of ten levels. Level 1 records one-time or regular monthly income from 1,000 to 3,500 euros, level 2 income up to 7,000 euros, level 3 income up to 15,000 euros, level 4 income up to 30,000 euros, level 5 income up to 50,000 euros, level 6 income up to 75,000 euros, level 7 income up to 100,000 euros, level 8 income up to 150,000 euros, level 9 income up to 250,000 euros and level 10 income over 250,000 euros. Several irregular inflows in a calendar year are continuously added up and published with the level that corresponds to the respective sum. In the year of the change of electoral period, the totals accumulated in the 17th electoral period and in the 18th electoral period are published separately under the disclosures for the respective electoral period that are subject to mandatory publication.”

Plenty of additional income, for example at Gauweiler

The regulation can be seen clearly in the example of the CSU veteran and Peter Gauweiler, who left the Bundestag in 2015. To do this, click on the “Information subject to disclosure” menu on the right-hand side of the Gauweiler website. The list of Gauweiler’s additional income is impressively long and even includes the highest level 10 with income of over 250,000 euros.

The CDU politician Philipp Amthor, who was criticized for his work for the US corporation Augustus Intelligence and for a photo together with the T-shirt of a Holocaust denier, reported only one level 1 sideline job on his Bundestag page for the legislative period that ended in 2021. For the current 20th electoral term, Amthor has not yet published any information that is subject to publication.

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